Machinery transportation using an air charter: a premium solution to save Christmas

Before the pandemic, large global companies had everything ready to start Christmas production in September. Today, with the great supply chain disruption and the ocean freight crisis, only hand in hand with a strategic partner in logistics these big players can get their products delivered on time.

What is Christmas for you? A big tree. Gifts. Biscuits! Family reunion. In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, there’s snow. There’s a lot of heat in the southern hemisphere. Santa Claus is everywhere.

Santa’s logistics involve the magic of Christmas to move the sleigh, but in today’s disruptive world, companies that produce items that make the holidays one of the most special moments of our lives are expecting little miracles this season.

The pillars of the great global supply chain disruption are:

  • The shortage of containers
  • The shortage of inputs (such as metal, plastics and semiconductors)
  • The saturation of container vessels, ports, and airports in many parts of the globe
  • And, more recently, energy crisis in Europa and Asia

All the above has impacted part of the expansion project and a Tier 1 of our client in today’s success story, a giant in the baking industry.

Our client needed more than machinery transportation: they needed a new production line in Mexico, robust and modern, composed of 6 bands that mold and bake biscuits that please the eyes, the stomach, and the heart.

The machinery manufacturer is located in Delbruk (Germany). Our client’s plant, in Toluca (Mexico). The six bands would be divided into eight parts for shipment.

Before the pandemic, the production line would have embarked in September and reached the heart of Mexico in October.

You should also read: How can you avoid that your cargo becomes urgent?

Nevertheless, in October 2021, shipping companies had almost no spaces available. They had no ships available. They had no containers available. Vessels departing from Europe at the end of October would arrive in Mexico at the end of November. Christmas was at risk.

The solution for machinery transportation would be similar to Santa Claus’s sleigh: flying the production line. Fast.

The standard air service for a movement like this would be getting space in a cargo plane – that solution was actually offered by some freight forwarders.

However, cargo flights have space limits, and it would take many hours of negotiation with the airlines to get what we needed for transporting each of the eight parts. At least six flights would be needed. One per week.

Even so, the production line would also arrive in Mexico at the end of November. There would be no time advantage – and it was going to cost around 8 times more than shipping in through the seas.

The solution

In xpd global, we think outside of the container. Our specialized consultancy team, which has a key account manager dedicated to this global giant account, designed an alternative tailored to their need of machinery transportation, coordinating the operations in a very specific time frame:

Renting a 747-400F exclusively for our client. A huge air charter.

xpd global and the company’s teams involved in transporting the production line had three weeks, against the clock, to organize the entire movement.

A fundamental part was to understand the volumes of the cargo.

The production line would not be transported fully assembled, nor piece by piece. As the manufacturer had to run tests before sending it overseas, some sections of the machinery would already be exported connected.

So, it was necessary to consider the dimensions segments that were already packed.

At this point, our client faced another drawback: Germany faces a shortage of wood for packaging.

With a network of excellent international agents and suppliers, specialized in all the details to coordinate movements of this magnitude –avoiding setbacks– our teams were able to take care of the precise packaging of all parts, in a week.

Machinery transportation: divide and conquer

With the capacity to move up to 600cbm, a 747-700F Boeing aircraft was selected as the ideal solution – but only for part of the cargo.

With the optimal package to avoid any damages to such a fine machinery, the complete production line reached 1,425cbm and 294T of volume.

The plan to succeed in the coordination and delivery on time of the complete production line was to export to Mexico 37 wooden boxes, in a total of 645cbm (34T) using the 747-700F Boeing.

The cargo fulfilled the aircraft’s whole main deck, one of the greatest in the market.

Fun fact: usually, cargo flights have less than 30 positions available for a maximum of 500cbm on the main deck.

With precise coordination to schedule the optimal timing at each airport, avoiding the great global congestion, the cargo left Frankfurt (FRA) at 14:00 on a Thursday and arrived at 23:00 on Friday at Mexico City (MEX), after a quick refueling in Atlanta (ATL).

With our own teams and a highly specialized and reliable network of carriers in origin and destination, we managed to overcome a delay in the arrival of the aircraft, which had problems with the congestion of the airport of its previous mission, in China.

Our teams were able to coordinate all communication between airports to avoid problems and organize well the arrival and unloading of all material.

Customs procedures at the airport in Mexico work in a “first come, first served” style, so we formed in line since 5am on Saturday afternoon to ensure we would be the first. On Saturday afternoon the cargo departed to our client’s plant in Toluca in 9 ground-freight units well fastened and protected by good, safe tarpaulins.

On Monday, the assembly to start producing the biscuits that make Christmas more delicious was already at full speed.

The other parts of the machinery were exported to Mexico in ocean freight. It was 780cbm (260T) distributed in 13 containers, leaving the port of Hamburg to Veracruz, in Mexico, in 17 days.

Why is xpd global your best strategic partner in logistics when you need to import machinery from Europe?

The ability to move a production line using the air charter service demonstrates the level of maturity and development of xpd global as a differentiated logistics provider, with expertise to meet all operational requirements and negotiations to transform this challenge into a success story for our customer.

With personalized attention from highly trained professionals to advise and provide support to the client from the beginning of the project, dedication to all the details until the culmination of the integral logistics service, we had logistics consulting, critical cargo, air import, ground transport and ocean freight teams working as one, united by a single purpose: our customer satisfaction.

Among all the stages of this movement, 15 talents from xpd global dedicated efforts to doing the best for this project.

By partnering with us, you will also have the logistics allies indicated and necessary for an excellency coordination of movements of this relevance.

From the negotiation power that we have conquered after over 20 years of solid work in the logistics market, through the selection of suppliers for the conditioning and advice with the shipper at origin to all the coordination at destination (Mexico), be sure to have at hand a network of high-level relationships with warehouses, airport maneuvering companies, last mile carriers and a great ability to work closely with your customs agent.

Connect with us. We are xpd global.

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